Riddled in between the shelves of my mind, I keep a piece of you. It’s stored beside the memory of strumming a simple guitar chord pattern that I looked up on my phone. When I finish, you look at the planes of my fingertips and laugh at the angry red stripes they have from pressing down on the steely strings. I’m a beginner. I don’t have calluses yet.
And then your head tips up and for an instant, we are locked together.
My whole body goes still, and all sound is sucked out of our universe into a vacuum of silence. The guitar sits soundless in my lap, and I am thinking that the back porch light is giving you odd shadows. It is building shafts of light that highlight your cheeks but shade your chin. You do not glow. You do not fade. I watch you closely as you watch me, the instrument forgotten.
Between these thoughts, I am a robber; I take something all for myself. Those eyes of yours, they’re wood fraying to evergreen, a hazel center flecked with jade light. I had never noticed before the true color of them: both green and brown. I want them in my mind, in my memory so as not to be lost, though you have not given them to me.
I take them for my memory, lock them up in a place you will never see.
For a moment I wonder if you see in me what you have lost, the secret that I have taken your eyes and hidden their image to be puzzled over when I am alone. My heartbeat stammers in my chest at the thought of you knowing, the thought of you seeing the piece of you I have chosen to steal for myself.
The guitar passes from my lap to yours and you begin to strum, the skin built strongly on your fingers from years of experience. I am listening, but my mind is reeling. I am watching those eyes closely. Your head bobs softly as you find a rhythm and I scoot slowly forward, crossing the small distance between us so that our kneecaps are brushing against each other.
I will smile when you’re done. I will ask you to play another song to which you will agree, eager to show off your talent. But I know what I have taken, it is those eyes. The memory of them is wholly visceral and starts an itch in my brain that I know I will never shake.